PISGAH FOREST, N.C. (WGHP) — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the wildfire ravaging Pisgah National Forest is “50% contained.”

The “Barnett Branch Fire,” as the USDA calls it, began to burn on Wednesday in the rough terrain of the Pisgah National Forest just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near the Pisgah Inn.

circa 1955: Looking Glass Mountain near Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

The USDA estimates that the wildfire is at about 370 acres of impact area now that it’s 50% contained.

The USDA reports that the fire has grown in size since Friday.

“This is due to burnout operations in which firefighters remove the fuels between the containment lines and the fire’s edge to control the intensity of the fire and secure containment lines,” said the USDA.

A firefighter uses a drip torch to conduct burnout operations, removing fuel between the fire’s edge and containment lines in order to reduce fire intensity and secure containment lines. (US Forest Service)

Some parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway were closed due to the wildfire.
Now the span from Highway-276 to the Pisgah Inn has reopened.

Approximately 30 firefighters from the United States Forest Service are fighting the blaze on Saturday.

“They will continue to secure the edges of the fire area, mitigating heavy fuels and snags that threaten containment lines,” said the USDA.

The cause of the Barnett Branch Fire remains under investigation.